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Author Topic: are gendered insults sexist by nature?
Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
You think that men *today*, USA circa 2014, still constitute "the social norm"? Because I see that as the specific ground where we've most "come a long way, baby."
We've come fair a bit, but we still have much farther to go.
Sure, but "we" aren't one united entity.

quote:
We're nowhere near the point where there is no social or economic difference between women and men, nevermind where male behavoir (specifically, straight, white male behavoir) sets the social norm, and everyone else is actively judged based on their variance from it.
There are different pockets and contexts within US culture where this is more or less true. As Ms. Sarkeesian's experience showed, there are pockets such as gamer culture that have NOT progressed with the rest of our culture. There are also pockets where women are treated more like equals than in the general culture. That's not to say that we should rest on our laurels; my point is that in the context of a more egalitarian pocket, words may signify differently. That's why i said above, about the word "bitching": "But one should keep an eye on specific usage."

I don't think anyone here on Ornery has the impression that whining is a womanly behavior, so in the past, I've felt comfortable using that term as a reference to complaining, although (other than one slip) I was careful to use it only when referring to male complaining. (Including some of my own complaints that I was apologizing for). But since some folks have told me that makes them uncomfortable, I'm trying to stop that usage here.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
I don't think anyone here on Ornery has the impression that whining is a womanly behavior, so in the past, I've felt comfortable using that term as a reference to complaining, although (other than one slip) I was careful to use it only when referring to male complaining.
The issue, to try to clarify what's being said, isn't with who you use it on, but rather with what the term itself says about women, regardless of who you apply it to. The term it self communicates "You are being as vapid, annoying, and unreasonable as a women and should obey my suggestion that you be silent instead"
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
So you don't think it's possible to be sexist against a man? Tell a man that he's not supposed to take caretaker positions such as nurse or elementary teacher?

That's prejudiced, not sexist. It is problematic, but it's not the explicit problem that the term sexism exists to highlight.

quote:
Tell him he's not supposed to have feelings? Fortunately many feminists strongly disagree with your position.
No, they disagree with the way you misrepresent my position. Which is why you should avoid making such misrepresentations.

How did I "misrepresent" your position? You just said that poking fun of a "male nurse" or telling a man he isn't supposed to have feelings is "prejudiced" but "not sexist."

Like I said, there are feminists who strongly disagree with your position and will say that poking fun of a male nurse is *SEXIST*.

quote:
At no point will a man taking one of those positions be used as an example of why all men are inferior
That's not true. Lisa Butterworth, founder and grand dragon of "feminist Mormon Housewives", issued the fatwa a few years ago that *whenever* a man speaks about his "feelings" that he's being manipulative and dishonest. See "It's Not About You."
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
I don't think anyone here on Ornery has the impression that whining is a womanly behavior, so in the past, I've felt comfortable using that term as a reference to complaining, although (other than one slip) I was careful to use it only when referring to male complaining.
The issue, to try to clarify what's being said, isn't with who you use it on, but rather with what the term itself says about women, regardless of who you apply it to. The term it self communicates "You are being as vapid, annoying, and unreasonable as a women and should obey my suggestion that you be silent instead"
Since that's how you and some others interpret the term, I'll try to discontinue using it. If I'd thought that's how it was being interpreted before, I would have stopped earlier. I don't find most women as vapid, annoying, and unreasonable as the average man, so I never would have imagined that someone else might take it that way.

I don't think that's a reasonable way for a man to interpret the term in a conversation between educated western men, where one man says, "I'm sorry for bitching at you about x y and z."

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
That's not true. Lisa Butterworth, founder and grand dragon of "feminist Mormon Housewives", issued the fatwa a few years ago that *whenever* a man speaks about his "feelings" that he's being manipulative and dishonest. See "It's Not About You."
?And that integrated itself into the social norm for society at large?

Or did most people never even hear about it?

Individuals may do many things against the grain. I was talking about by society as a whole, not individuals that might have a bit of pull in a given small subculture.

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stilesbn
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
So you don't think it's possible to be sexist against a man? Tell a man that he's not supposed to take caretaker positions such as nurse or elementary teacher?

That's prejudiced, not sexist. It is problematic, but it's not the explicit problem that the term sexism exists to highlight.
This is what I was getting at. You're using this definition as though it is the accepted term. I submit that it may be an operational definition used in certain contexts, but when the average joe uses the term sexism it is not exclusive being only against women

My sources: The first 5 results when you google "sexism definition". Each one of those says something along the lines of "prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex."

Each one acknowledges that sexism is typically against women but "typically" is not a synonym for "exclusively". In fact it means "usually but not exclusively."

You have to get to the 6th result from the Feminism 101 site to come across your definition which talks about the power dynamic.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
I don't think that's a reasonable way for a man to interpret the term in a conversation between educated western men, where one man says, "I'm sorry for bitching at you about x y and z."
The specific details of what's being cast unfavorably may change, but you can't get away from the word itself which associates that negative behavoir with women, because the fundamental nature of the term is to compare your bad behavior to that of an unreasonable woman who is not being subservient, as per the noun form of it.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
You're using this definition as though it is the accepted term. I submit that it may be an operational definition used in certain contexts, but when the average joe uses the term sexism it is not exclusive being only against women
IT is the formal term- and, as I said to Pete, since the question was one about a question that was specifically related to a conclusion reached from its forma usage, it doesn't make any sense to suddenly switch to informal usage. (Not to mention that the informal usage is useless for actually meaningfully discussing the problem, and mostly only serves as a tool to cloud the inherent directional nature of the root issue)

Trying to pretend it goes both ways creates a false equivalence that effectively denies the fact that there is a huge difference between general prejudice and prejudice exercised in conjunction with institutional power.

Sexism does considerable harm to men. There's no question about it, but men still, in terms of social and economic power, benefit from it, while all other sexual identities are significantly harmed by it, and pretending otherwise by casting the term as a simple synonym for prejudice only obscures that fundamental fact.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
?And that integrated itself into the social norm for society at large?
That would be relevant if I'd claimed that fmhLisa was representative of feminism overall, rather than a wart in the movement's armpit. But she's counterevidence to your claim of a wartless unified movement. Which is kind of a silly thing. "feminism" isn't properly even a philosophical system, let alone a unified philosophy. If Christianity was as loosely defined as feminism is, then Judaism, Islam, and satanism would all be types of Christianity. [Big Grin] The term gobbles up ideologies that existed before the word feminism existed, and ideologies so mutually exclusive that I can't believe that anyone who could call themselves a feminist could with a straight face act as if it was one coherent philosophy or movement.
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Pete at Home
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Ah, so "sexism" is the formal sociological term, and you're claiming that sociologists have fatwad it to exclusively mean sexism against women?

Please cite a sociological dictionary of terms, then.

Note that the two examples that I cited, degrading a "male nurse" and fmhLisa saying that men are incapable of honestly discussing their "feelings", are sexist even in the narrow sense that you're claiming is definitive. Precluding men from caring professions, and from "feelings," is part of the status quo that ultimately harms women. But your definition of sexism is ultimately shallow, since anyone with the faintest grasp of the postmodern toolset should understand that any sexism ultimately hurts men and women by denying human aspects from both sexes.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
?And that integrated itself into the social norm for society at large?
That would be relevant if I'd claimed that fmhLisa was representative of feminism overall, rather than a wart in the movement's armpit. But she's counterevidence to your claim of a wartless unified movement. Which is kind of a silly thing. "feminism" isn't properly even a philosophical system, let alone a unified philosophy. If Christianity was as loosely defined as feminism is, then Judaism, Islam, and satanism would all be types of Christianity. [Big Grin] The term gobbles up ideologies that existed before the word feminism existed, and ideologies so mutually exclusive that I can't believe that anyone who could call themselves a feminist could with a straight face act as if it was one coherent philosophy or movement.
No, that's exactly part of why it's relevant. She as an individual can make that claim, but unless that claim is implicitly accepted an perpetuated by society at large, it's not relevant. It didn't serve as a social judgment against all men, it only stood out as one individuals judgment that was largely ignored.

The marginalized segment can certainly harbor prejudices again the privileged segment of a society, by the very fact of its marginalization means that those prejudices won't be taken up and reinforced by the privileged segment. Whereas the power of the privileged segment means that its prejudices will have a considerable effect on the marginalized segment.

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Pete at Home
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Pyr, are you sure you want to take the position that anyone who doesn't agree with your oppressed-class version of what "sexist" means, cannot possibly be a feminist?

quote:
How did I "misrepresent" your position? You just said that poking fun of a "male nurse" or telling a man he isn't supposed to have feelings is "prejudiced" but "not sexist."

Like I said, there are feminists who strongly disagree with your position and will say that poking fun of a male nurse is *SEXIST*.


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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Note that the two examples that I cited, degrading a "male nurse" and fmhLisa saying that men are incapable of honestly discussing their "feelings", are sexist even in the narrow sense that you're claiming is definitive. Precluding men from caring professions, and from "feelings," is part of the status quo that ultimately harms women. But your definition of sexism is ultimately shallow, since anyone with the faintest grasp of the postmodern toolset should understand that any sexism ultimately hurts men and women by denying human aspects from both sexes.
Nice way to backpedal while blaming your ongoing misrepresentations of my position, especially ones that directly contradict what I've explicitly said, where then you assert what I already said above as if it were your counterargument.

quote:
. Those kinds of biases result from sexism but the sexism is the part of the equation that casts those as women roles and thus unworthy of men. The prejudice against men who hold those positions does emerge from that sexism, but that prejudice does not handicap men as a whole, just those that choose to stray from the behaviors that reinforce their dominance. At no point will a man taking one of those positions be used as an example of why all men are inferior in all ways to women in the way that a women failing in what is designated a man's role will be held up as an example of weakness or failure for all women.
Sexism casts the roles as inferior. Men who stray are punished.Not because they are men in general, but because they break away from the power dynamic that asserts those positions are not worthy of them. They can return to the fold at any time and the punishment will cease, rather than having to live under a constant stream of othering and reminders of their deviation from the powerful normal.

Women are punished for being women or for trying to be too much like men, while men are only punished for not being sufficiently like men. Sexism isn't directed at men, but those that stray from that protection are definitely hurt by that decision to deviate. (With sufficient deviation, ie: being transgendered, being effectively a license in itself for execution even at this point in time)

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Pyr, are you sure you want to take the position that anyone who doesn't agree with your oppressed-class version of what "sexist" means, cannot possibly be a feminist?

Are you sure that you wan't to try to keep trying to shove words in my mouth instead of sticking to representing your own positions? Where did I make any kind of Not True Scotsman argument that you're now inventing out of whole cloth.

You really need to stop making stuff up and start sticking to trying to present your positions instead of seeing how many ways you can misrepresent mine.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
?And that integrated itself into the social norm for society at large?
That would be relevant if I'd claimed that fmhLisa was representative of feminism overall, rather than a wart in the movement's armpit. But she's counterevidence to your claim of a wartless unified movement. Which is kind of a silly thing. "feminism" isn't properly even a philosophical system, let alone a unified philosophy. If Christianity was as loosely defined as feminism is, then Judaism, Islam, and satanism would all be types of Christianity. [Big Grin] The term gobbles up ideologies that existed before the word feminism existed, and ideologies so mutually exclusive that I can't believe that anyone who could call themselves a feminist could with a straight face act as if it was one coherent philosophy or movement.
No, that's exactly part of why it's relevant. She as an individual can make that claim, but unless that claim is implicitly accepted an perpetuated by society at large, it's not relevant. It didn't serve as a social judgment against all men, it only stood out as one individuals judgment that was largely ignored.
I don't use the word fatwa lightly. She's followed by thousands, only half of whom are actual mormon feminists. In the LDS community, fmh was ranked the third biggest private LDS blog, last I checked, after Common Consent and I forgot the name of the other one.

Our former Munga posts there.

You want to declare them insignificant, well I'd love to believe you.

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Pyrtolin
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To put another way- you really seem to be confusing the statement that sexism is targeted at women, as a class with an assertion that sexism, being so targeted, only hurts women.

The latter does not follow from the former at all, in fact nothing could be further from the truth. But as long as you keep trying to conflate those two concepts you're going to effectively keep making things up that I didn't say.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
To put another way- you really seem to be confusing the statement that sexism is targeted at women, as a class with an assertion that sexism, being so targeted, only hurts women.

The latter does not follow from the former at all, in fact nothing could be further from the truth. But as long as you keep trying to conflate those two concepts you're going to effectively keep making things up that I didn't say.

When you write so unclearly, I don't know what you are saying, or that even you know what you're saying.

We've gone through this at least twice this week. You say something obscure and poorly written; I reply to what I think you meant, you accuse me of misrepresenting you, I ask you what you did mean, you repeat your accusation that I misrepresented you, I repeat my question of what you meant, and you state your position in better English.

How about you skip the accusations and say what you mean this time?

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
To put another way- you really seem to be confusing the statement that sexism is targeted at women, as a class with an assertion that sexism, being so targeted, only hurts women.

No. I understand the distinctions between the statements.

I'm saying that there are some feminists who agree with you that if a statement doesn't target women, it's not sexist, and that there are other feminists that agree with me that a sexist statement may target men, and yet also hurt women, even unintentionally. If you weren't so eager to prove me wrong, you might have noticed that you'd made a similar point with regard to the word "bitch." To degrade a man for being a "male nurse" or to imply that a man can't honestly discuss his feelings, is sexist and hurts women in the same way that calling a man a "bitch" is sexist and hurts women.

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Pete at Home
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Setting aside pyr's childish and escalating attempts to blame me for his failure to communicate clearly --

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:

Please cite a sociological dictionary of terms, then.

<crickets chirp while Pyr continues to howl and blame Pete for miscommunications>
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Pete at Home
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Ah, if you meant to say, about Lisa's remark about men and feelings, well yes, obviously, the idea that men have "egos" instead of "feelings" is definitely an intrenched construct in the culture. A man isn't supposed to talk about his feelings. It's backhanded misogyny since it part of a bigger superstructure where men are more rational and women more emotive. For frak's sake, Pyr, if you call yourself a feminist you should at least be familiar with that concept.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
The marginalized segment can certainly harbor prejudices again the privileged segment of a society, by the very fact of its marginalization means that those prejudices won't be taken up and reinforced by the privileged segment. Whereas the power of the privileged segment means that its prejudices will have a considerable effect on the marginalized segment.

So when a black female social worker takes a white single father's child away because he's not making enough money to provide for the kid, then charges the homeless guy child support, then keeps the kid from the guy because with the child support payments he can afford even less resources from the kids ... and denies the guy state services because he's white and male and therefore "privileged" ... this isn't sexism or racism to you?

This is what happens when terms are defined by smug suburban leftistas.

For those of us not living in your little pink cloud suburb, there isn't a unified class of men, or whites. If you're homeless, disabled, etc., being white and male doesn't mean crap, Pyr. And if you don't see that, perhaps you should examine your privilege.

[ September 08, 2014, 09:03 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Pete at Home
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Also, Pyr, could you show me any evidence that your definition of sexist is in fact the only acceptable "sociological" definition, rather than merely political jargon shared by groupies who share the same set of assumptions and world view?
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OpsanusTau
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Two things:

I have found at times in the past that while being poor and relatively disadvantage compared to now, still being white in that position counted for a lot. I don't know from personal experience, but if I had to pick I would absolutely rather be a homeless white man than a homeless woman of color.

Did someone say and I missed it, or maybe did no one say- to me the worst thing about eg the use of "bitch" as an insult is not the it characterizes undesirable behavior as female but that it equates misbehaving female human with female dog. You know, livestock that should be in submission but tends to be inappropriately aggressive.

I think I have more to say about this, but am really way too tired right now.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by OpsanusTau:
Two things:

I have found at times in the past that while being poor and relatively disadvantage compared to now, still being white in that position counted for a lot. I don't know from personal experience, but if I had to pick I would absolutely rather be a homeless white man than a homeless woman of color.

I'm glad your words reflect this is your experience, and allow for the possibility that other experiences might differ from yours. There's more than just one institution in the world, and some settings systematically discriminate differently.

quote:
Did someone say and I missed it, or maybe did no one say- to me the worst thing about eg the use of "bitch" as an insult is not the it characterizes undesirable behavior as female but that it equates misbehaving female human with female dog. You know, livestock that should be in submission but tends to be inappropriately aggressive.

Well-said. It's nice to have such an articulate voice with us. The "woman as livestock" image certainly gives one pause.

But substantively, your description suggests some problems with the word "whining" as well. Doesn't whining, in itself imply that a weaker (infantilized) person who should be submitting to institutional power, is being inappropriately mouthy?

[ September 09, 2014, 12:27 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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